17 December 2012

The best news story of the year

In January 2013, India will start the world's biggest social innovation programme: giving cash directly to its poorest citizens in a bid to reduce its very large problem of corruption that stops subsidised goods and welfare benefits from reaching those who really need them. This initiative will affect at least 720 million people—a population almost the size of Europe!
The scheme is open to families who live below or just above the government-set poverty line. The Indian government expects to transfer up to 40,000 rupees ($720) a year to each poor household. Cash handouts will replace the money the government currently spends on subsidies on goods such as fuel, food and fertilizer. India plans to launch this ambitious social innovation program from 1 January, covering 18 states by April and the whole country by the end of 2013.

If this is to be believed, the consequences for human welfare are simply staggering. Nothing else even comes close.

Brazil's Bolsa Familia reaches 50 million people and has lifted 20 million out of poverty. India's programme could reach seven hundred and twenty million people.

Just wow. Sceptical comments to calm me down below please.

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